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The members and guests of the NJ Lakes & Pines Chapter met on Thursday, September 8, 2022, at Pudgy’s Sports Pub on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. Chapter President, LTC Ed Abramovitz, USA (Ret), convened the meeting at 1200H with 18 people in attendance. LTC Abramovitz introduced our guest speaker, Mr. Roy Plummer, Executive Director of the Armed Forces Heritage Museum located in Burlington, NJ. Mr. Plummer was accompanied by Mr. Brian Branson, AFHM Vice President.

Mr. Plummer began his presentation with several remarks about the early beginnings of the Armed Forces Heritage Museum (AFHM) which dates back to the retirement of the Lockheed C-141B Starlifter cargo aircraft and the introduction of the new Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. At that time, another on-base non-profit group, the Thomas B. McGuire Foundation, approached the Joint Base leadership and offered to raise funds to build a memorial park utilizing a non-flyable C-141 Starlifter as the center piece of that effort. The park was completed and opened on Joint Base in 2009.

As a next step, it was suggested that a fitting tribute to the military and the legacy of McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and Lakehurst Naval Engineering Center would be to construct a permanent museum building on the Joint Base at a location that the visiting public could attend. As this was in the post 9-11 period, the proposed museum would need to be located outside the existing security fence line. As the McGuire Foundation deemed this project to be too large for them to handle, the AFHM was formed and granted IRS 501©(3) nonprofit status in 2010. The effort to build a museum on the Joint Base eventually proved unworkable due to federal regulations and restrictions. This led the AFHM leadership to make a very important decision: “If we can’t have people come out the museum, then let’s find a way to take the museum to the public!”  This new concept resulted in the creation of the Mobile Museum.  

Following the donation of a 32-foot mobile trail-er from Ewing Township in Mercer County, the AFHM refurbished and retrofitted the trailer into a traveling museum with exhibits that highlight New Jersey military history over the past 100 plus years. The exhibits travel from the creation of Camp Dix during WWI through to the present day with 80 mission partners from all military services who are domiciled on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ. Phase 2 for the Mobile Museum project will involve a large 45’ Motor Coach that will be equipped with interactive displays and a classroom setting/video studio to conduct interviews. Phase 2, however, is on hold due to on-going pandemic restrictions.

A second major focus the AFHM involves an educational interview program featuring area veterans. Their interviews are available for viewing on the AFHM website. Several additional programs added in recent years include a Speaker’s Bureau featuring historian and veterans. 

A third major activity has been the Student Military History Education Day that is held each November at Shawnee High School in Medford, NJ. This involves having veterans visiting history classes where the veterans may speak about their particular military service. A similar pro-gram has also been established with the Middle and High Schools in Hunterdon County.

A major goal was recently attained where the AFHM is partnering with the Burlington County Historical Society that allows the Museum to establish a headquarters and base of operations at the Capt. James Lawrence House on the campus of the Society in Burlington, NJ. 

The Armed Forces Heritage Museum continues to serve the public as it enters it’s second decade of educating the public on the rich military his-tory of New Jersey. You can learn more by going to the Museum website at www.afhmus.org. 

Mr. Plummer is a retired human resources executive who has worked for several Fortune 100 companies. He was a Senior Human Resources Business Partner for the Lockheed Martin Inte-grated Systems & Global Services division, a leading U.S. Government provider of classified programs within the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance field. Mr. Plummer served as regional human resources, project management, and material service roles for the GE Nuclear Energy business. He was responsible for employment, recruitment and EEO management positions with GE Government Services and the RCA Service Company. 

Mr. Plummer is a graduate of Penn State University with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. He completed the Penn State ROTC program and was commissioned in the U.S. Army Ordinance Corps. He completed his active-duty commitment while assigned as a First Lieutenant with the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) in Pusan, Korea. 

Following his presentation, Mr. Plummer and Mr. Branson were each presented with a NJ Lakes & Pines Chapter “Coffee Mug” for being our guest speakers today and for their very time-ly and important information. The Chapter also contributed $100 to the Museum to help with their ongoing activities.

A hardy Thank You to Mr. Plummer and Mr. Branson for being our guests today. – Maj. James L. Badgley, USAF (Ret).